Everything must have a beginning — dandelions and more flower language in The Ancient Magus’ Bride

The premiere episode of The Ancient Magus’ Bride establishes Chise Hatori’s outlook on life as one of apathy. She no longer cares for her own well-being and sells herself into slavery because of this. Chise’s fluctuating mental state makes up the backbone of the series’ narrative. Much like the tagline “April showers bring May flowers,” our introduction to Chise marks both her distressing past and her hopeful future.

Framing this are a variety of flowers, all purposeful in their meanings at the peripheryor, in the case of the poppy flower, an upfront visual manifestation — of Chise’s story. Around each corner of the world that Chise explores is a flower or tree that informs her journey. The latest examples are the dandelion and nemophila (baby blue eyes) flowers, that bookend the series’ most recent story arc.

The most common meanings of a dandelion flower are cheer and wish fulfillment. Once dandelions have bloomed, leaving their puffy, white seeds behind, it’s said that blowing all of the seeds off of the stem will grant a wish. This fits in nicely with Mina’s story.

Mina first appears to Chise in a dream. With dandelions from her husband, Matthew — featured prominently in the opening shots — placed conspicuously behind her on the nightstand, Mina asks her cat if he could possibly donate a life to her if he has one to spare from his rumored nine. Later we discover that the nine lives of cats are quite real, rather than a cute anecdote, but here it seems like a desperate wish from someone who is possibly sick (and has no knowledge of magic or any expectation that her wish would be granted). When Mina shows Chise her memories, Mina is bedridden and likely terminally ill. Dandelion flowers also carry a meaning of wishing an ill person well, or happiness in times of darkness. Dandelion tea is said to have some medicinal or health benefits, making the dandelion a perfect gift from Matthew to Mina.

This first episode in the two-part arc focuses on unfulfilled wishes, hopes, and desires: Mina’s wish to live, Matthew’s wish for Mina to live, Cat King Molly’s wish to cleanse evil from her land and protect her daughter. These various wishes frame Chise’s growing desire to live, a desire which she herself doesn’t recognize or acknowledge until the second half of Mina and Matthew’s story.

The dandelion represents all of the desires and requests of various characters and is repeatedly shown in Episode 4, but the series’ fifth episode and conclusion of Mina and Matthew’s narrative belongs to the blue nemophila flower, or “baby blue eyes.”

Nemophila is a famous flower in Japan, largely thanks to the blue fields at Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture. It’s said to represent prosperity, congratulations on success, and most importantly for Mina and Matthew: healing. At the conclusion of their horrifying tale, Mina and Matthew meet in a field of nemophila that wishes them happiness, healing, and love, despite the atrocities that Matthew has committed. After years of pain and suffering, Chise cleanses them, releasing Matthew from his tortured state. They embrace before dissipating into a cloud of nemophila petals.

This scene also holds a lot of meaning for Chise and her personal path towards self-actualization. While she watches Mina and Matthew disappear, Chise admits to herself that she was an unwanted child. Realizing that she now has some semblance of a home with Elias, she wonders when she will die. Although this seems like a morbid thought on which to end this arc, it’s an important step in Chise’s development since, previously, she didn’t seem to care whether she lived or died.

Advertisements

3 comments

    1. I also took nemopilia to represent forgiveness, and I think it’s a more symbolic emotion to attribute to Mina and Matthew at that moment. She wanted Chise to erase them before, but after seeing him again in the field she wanted to rejoin his spirit.

      I’m really enjoying trying to figure out the the flower meanings each episode. Great post, Emily!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s